Farmer Reaps Derby PrizeBy Staff Report November 12, 2015
Kelly Farmer took home the blue and yellow ribbons at HITS’ first of four $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derbies this week at the Desert Horse Park in Thermal, CA. Riding under the lights in the grand prix stadium, Farmer took home the $30,000 first prize for her textbook tour on Dalliance, owned by Avatar Real Estate LLC.
Farmer also picked up a $13,000 third-place check for her ride on Point Being. Tara Metzler and High Five took second place.
In all, 34 competitors attempted the first round Hunter Classic course set by Rian Beals, of Saugerties, NY, as two panels of judges including Jimmy Lee, Carole O’Brien, Jeanne Marie Miller and Diane Carney, critiqued their craft. Unique to the hunter derby format, in addition to the base score, each judging panel awarded an “option bonus score” consisting of one additional point for every optional fence of greater height jumped.
Farmer took the lead by four points after round one with scores of 94 and 90 for a total of 184. However, it was still anybody’s game with the top 12 competitors returning for round two over a handy style course.
“The course was big, but rightfully so for the money at stake,” Farmer said. Although she had initially been concerned about showing under the lights, her scores proved that wasn’t a problem. “At night, under the lights, it’s deserving of the money. The ring, the class, the quality, all of it was top notch.”
The round two course proved to be a challenge as the first several competitors all scored below 80. That all changed when fifth-to-go Michael Leon and Celano navigated their way to score of 94 and 97, for a round two score of 191, for a total of 356.
Sixth in the order was Jenny Karazissis aboard Undeniable. They were cool under pressure, finishing with scores of 92 and 99 for 191, which added to their round one for a total of 360 and the lead.
The leader-board continued to change when seventh in the order, Nick Haness and Spot On were third in a row to receive a total of 191. Added to his previous 171, Haness moved into first with a total of 362.
Tenth in lineup were Metzner and High Five. Knowing that the next two horses would both be piloted by Farmer, the round one leader, Metzner didn’t hold back, gracefully guiding her mount through round two to a score of 195, which put her in the top spot with 375.5.
The final two trips of the day belonged to Farmer. Eleventh in the order with Point Being she landed just one point behind Metzner. Anchoring the order with derby superstar Dalliance, Farmer finished on a high note and a stellar round score of 209, for a total of 393 and the blue ribbon.
“Dalliance has won a few derbies, already; this was his third,” Farmer added. “No matter what I needed to do, he was capable of doing it. I knew Tara was going to go for it. She has a lovely horse and she’s a great rider, I knew she wasn’t going to hold anything back.”
Haness and Spot On earned fourth place, while Karazissis and Undeniable placed fifth.
“It’s great that Tom and HITS are bringing this kind of money to hunters and to derbies. We’ve been pressing the industry to do that, and finally someone has. We will definitely be back to support it,” Farmer said.
The HITS Hunter Derby Tour continues with the next event scheduled during the Ocala Tournament, February 23-28, at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida. The HITS Ocala Winter Circuit Prize List, including $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby specs, can be found at HitsShows.com.
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